Everyone wants their voice to be heard and Amazon must understand this desire well. Last week it announced two new devices that let you use your voice to get what you want. In other words, your spoken wish is Amazon’s command.
Amazon’s Fire TV and Dash are two devices, like the Kindle, that are designed to bring Amazon products and content to you. Fire TV, a competitor to Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast, streams video, TV shows and movies to your television. Dash is a device that makes it easier to order from Amazon Fresh, an expedited delivery service. Both allow you to use your voice to enter information, making the process much easier and faster.
Fire TV is a small set-top box that connects to the Internet and your TV to bring you dozens of different services including Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Crackle and more (though no HBO GO for now). You can also use Fire TV to play games such as The Game of Life, Minecraft, Sonic the Hedgehog, and You Don’t Know Jack. Check out the full list of available services and games at the Amazon Fire TV App Store.
Similar to the Kindle Fire, Fire TV runs a version of the Android operating system so you can download apps from Amazon onto your Fire TV. The apps range from video viewing apps, such as Netflix, to games, such as The Walking Dead. The device also links to Amazon Cloud Service so you can display any photos you have stored there, turning your TV into a digital photo frame.
Fire TV comes with a remote that has a built-in microphone for voice search of Amazon Prime Videos. Press the button on the remote and speak your command such as “Leonardo DiCaprio” or “Downton Abbey”.
Fire TV will display your search results so you can choose which video you want to watch. Here’s Gary Busey demonstrating how voice search works on Fire TV:
Fire TV has hundreds of game apps available with thousands more promised soon. Amazon is working on game development and expects to deliver games available exclusively on the Fire TV. Most of the Fire TV game apps are free and the average price for a paid game app is $1.85.
Here’s a preview from Amazon of games that will be available on the Fire TV:
You can use Fire TV to listen to music from apps such as Pandora, TuneIn Radio, iHeart Radio and Vevo. (Note that voice search works in Vevo as well as Prime Video). You can also stream music you have stored in Amazon Cloud.
Parents who want to gain control over their children’s gaming and TV viewing will appreciate Amazon FreeTime. This feature, first introduced on the Kindle Fire tablet, lets parents set up a maximum of four separate profiles for their children. Using FreeTime parents can restrict the types of videos their children can watch, the apps they use, and the amount of time they can spend on the Fire TV. Amazon FreeTime is scheduled to launch on the Fire TV in May.
The Fire TV can be used to mirror your Kindle Fire HDX screen onto your TV screen. You can also use X-Ray on your Kindle Fire to get more information about what’s playing on your Fire TV.
See, Kindle X-Ray – Quench Your Thirst for Knowledge for more information about Kindle X-Ray.
Amazon Dash may look like a fashion accessory for tech fans, but instead it’s a device to help you order items for delivery from Amazon Fresh. Fresh is a service that can deliver over 500,000 Amazon products to your doorstep within hours of placing your order and is currently available in Southern California, San Francisco and Seattle.
Dash makes the process of ordering from Amazon easier, letting you scan a product bar code or use voice control to add items to your Amazon shopping cart. You may start thinking of Dash as your magic wand — connect Dash to your Wi-Fi network and start filling up your cart.
Here’s a video showing you the Dash in use:
The device is free with the for members of Amazon Fresh, a $299/year subscription. You can find out more from the Amazon Dash page.
Are you excited about the Fire TV and/or the Dash? Do you like the idea of using your voice for commands? Do you wish Amazon Fresh were available in your area? Let us know in the Comments section below!